Chipping. One of the most important aspects of golf to the average club player, but probably the one that gets the least attention. We go to the driving range and practise full shots, we spend 10 minutes on the putting green before our round to groove our stroke… But we never, ever practise our chipping. And frankly that’s a bit strange because even when we’re playing okay, we tend to miss a fair share of greens…

And chipping is in the news lately with Tiger Woods giving a masterclass in how not to do it. From the former world number one this year we’ve seen chunked chips, bladed chips, chips played with a 4-iron just to get the ball moving forwards, in fact every sort of bad chip you can imagine. Tiger claims his ‘release patterns’ are all wrong, which is nonsense. He just needs to follow the 19th Hole’s five step plan to better chipping:

1. Hands in front of the ball at address

This promotes a better contact with the ball to get it rolling, and reduces the chance of thinning the ball.

2. Adopt a favourite club for chipping

We suggest a 9-iron or PW. While sometimes, like Tiger, you could find a flatter-faced club more useful, it’s much better to have a go-to club for chipping. And we don’t mean a chipper.
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3. Read the green you’re chipping to

When the ball lands you want it to release like a putt towards the hole so make sure you land it in the right place!

4. Hold the club lower down the grip

You’re going for control here, not power, and this very simple thing puts your hands closer to the ball.

5. Try to replicate your putting stroke

Or at least a close approximation of it, and simply bring the clubhead back to drop on the back of the ball. The chipping stroke does not need many moving parts, especially in your arms and wrists.

There. Simple. If you follow all of that you’ll find your chipping becomes much more consistent and bogeys turn into pars. And every once in a while you will chip in just like they do on the telly…


Dan Foley

Dan Foley

Editor and journalist at a variety of websites over the last ten years. Closing in on 10,000 hours of golf practice with no sign of mastering the game.

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